Question about audio settings

General questions or discussion about HandBrake, Video and/or audio transcoding, trends etc.
Post Reply
poit57
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:10 pm

Question about audio settings

Post by poit57 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:37 pm

I have been using Handbrake for about 2 years. When I started, my sole purpose was converting DVD's to mp4 for playback on an mp4 player. I had pretty much just left the default settings, which worked fine for me. I now have a NAS server from which I would like to play my movies back through Windows Media Center connected to a 5.1 surround sound setup. Using MediaInfo, I see that my mp4's contain AAC audio and that it is 2 channels. I have not been able to find a clear explanation of what all the different encoding options actually mean in regards to what a the audio output will be like.

Nearly all my movies are from DVD's. I recently installed a blu-ray drive and have just started trying to convert these movies. I've ripped the blu-rays to my hard drive using DVDFab, which has a "remove HD audio" setting that converts DTS HD audio to DTS. I've done two movies so far. The first was with the normal profile settings in Handbrake, which MediaInfo shows has the same AAC 2 channel audio as my DVD conversions. The second one was done with the high profile setting. The default on this setting ends up with an AAC 2 channel audio stream and an AC3 5.1 channel stream, I believe (I'm not home right now to verify this info). Despite not knowing exactly what the different video settings between the two profiles are supposed to affect, the video quality on both videos looks good. My concern at this point is more about selecting the most suitable audio settings for my setup.

I have a few questions.
1) What would be the simplest way to get the full surround sound effect from my movies while watching on my 5.1 channel home theater setup through Windows Media Center.
2) When there are multiple audio streams, how does the media player determine which audio stream to send through the audio receiver?

Any help on understanding these audio settings would be greatly appreciated.

Smithcraft
Veteran User
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:04 pm

Re: Question about audio settings

Post by Smithcraft » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:26 am

For the first question - Use a passthrough setting for the audio. If it's AC3 then use the AC3 Passthrough setting, and if it's DTS then use the DTS Passthrough(or DTS-HD Passthrough) setting.

For the second question, it depends on the software, but most files have default streams. With Handbrake, I believe that the first audio track is set to be the default audio track. Accessing the other tracks depends on the software you are using.

SC

poit57
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:10 pm

Re: Question about audio settings

Post by poit57 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:38 pm

I don't know why I didn't see this before, but I just found the audio settings in the Handbrake help. From what I understand reading the description, the Dolby Pro Logic II mixdown that I've been using can be interpreted as either stereo or 5.0 surround sound (without a dedicated subwoofer channel) depending on the audio receiver the sound is being played through. Am I understanding this correctly?

I'm no audiophile so I probably won't be able to tell the difference, if any exists, between the quality of a passthrough audio stream and one that has been converted with AAC. I just want to be able to know the surround effect will be present when watching through my home theater system. Am I understanding the description in the help section correctly in that all I'm really losing with the Pro Logic II conversion over a passthrough is a dedicated subwoofer channel? I'm just trying to figure out if it's worth trying to re-encode my mp4's adding an AC3 or DTS passthrough. Is there a noticeable difference in the size of my output file if I include both the passthrough and Pro Logic II audio streams?

musicvid
Veteran User
Posts: 3208
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:19 am

Re: Question about audio settings

Post by musicvid » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:51 pm

The 2-ch Pro Logic is matrixed surround.
The passthrough option is true surround.
You will be able to hear the difference.

Post Reply